Monday, 7 May 2012

Marathon eating in Seoul!

My friend Won only takes one day off from work each week and its usually on a Monday. Its never ever a proper day off and inevitably, he always finds himself lured back to work. I can understand when you have a business to run; on the Monday we were in Seoul, I was very surprised when he told us that he would be spending the day with us!! Very happy of course but felt kind of bad to be taking up so much of his precious time - he kept telling us during the course of the day that he was enjoying himself and it felt like a proper holiday for him not thinking about work, I really hope this was true!!!

We started the day with a visit to Seoul's most famous palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁). Won knew that both Ma Chan and I were both interested in all things patisserie so just before we started our sightseeing, we paid a quick visit to a patisserie near the palace called Amandier, a French style cafe-boulangerie-patisserie. The shop was beautiful with tempting displays of breads, viennoisserie, cakes, chocolates and a pristine and expensive-looking open kitchen! We had only had breakfast a short while before our visit so tried some small items plus a cup of tea. Everything was lovely but if I had to comment on anything, I would say that Lee Boulanger's bread is far superior to Amandier!!
Macarons galore!!

If I had more time, I would've come back for a return visit to try some cake, yum! 

Love this!! The round black thing is an alarm which sounds when your drinks are ready to collect from the bar!!

Our "wee" selection: olive croissant, plain croissant, Swiss roll, black sesame macaron, raspberry and rose macaron. Raspberry and rose.....the influence of PH is alive and well in Seoul, hehe!! :) 

Our visit to 경복궁 was very enjoyable and educational as well since Won was able to explain all the different buildings and a little bit about the history of Korea. It was interesting to hear that Korean culture shares a lot of similarities with Chinese culture!! Lunchtime beckoned and since it was so warm, I had a special request for naengmyun (냉면)! Won took us to a traditional resto called Nampo Myunok (남포면옥) where we tucked into some delicious 냉면, perfect food for a hot day! Ma Chan wasn't so enthusiastic about having cold noodles so ordered Tteok Manduguk (떡 만두국, Korean ricecake and dumpling soup), yummers! 
This resto is famous as it was frequented by the President of Korea, Lee Myung Bak back when he was the Mayor of Seoul :)

Traditional style seating with chairs on the floor with no legs!!

Kimchi pots!!

Sign saying "the customer is KING"!! (I think?) 

 냉면 - cold buckwheat noodles in broth

 떡 만두국, Korean ricecake and dumpling soup

We had a final "eating" stop before dinner and that was to try some Korean desserts. Usually, these are quite stodgy and are made from a combination of rice, dates, red beans and figs......not the most appetising, especially in the wrong hands! Being the gourmand he is, Won took us to a lovely place called Haap (合) - a small cafe owned by a pastry chef who has trained at Ecole Lenotre in Paris before returning to Seoul and creating Korean desserts with French refinement.
Dainty and delicious!! :)

Anguk Building

Nampo Myunok (남포면옥)
Da-dong 125

Haap (合)
Gwanhun-dong 198-31

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